Scarlet Fever Warning Sign

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Scarlet Fever Warning Sign


Image of a Scarlet Fever Warning Sign by the Providence Board of Health.

In 1854, Dr. Edwin Snow pioneered efforts to document and analyze a wave of cholera which attacked the citizens of Providence. Tracking the disease among his own patients, he devoted himself to tracing its source and preventing its recurrence. Snow became the first Superintendent in 1856 when Providence established a permanent city health department. Twenty-two years later, a State Board of Health was formed with three

In 1883, Dr. Charles Value Chapin became Providence's Superintendent of Health. Dr. Chapin continued Dr. Snow's efforts, improving sanitation, advocating city sewer construction, establishing quarantine regulations, and identifying the source of a cholera outbreak in 1888. Dr. Chapin instituted mandatory reporting of contagious disease cases such as scarlet fever and diphtheria. He was a leader in discouraging fumigation of houses as a disease prevention measure and established the nation's first contagious disease hospital, the Providence City Hospital, in 1910.

See also:
Department of Health Directors photographs, no dates

Providence Board of Health records, 1857/1977


Rhode Island State Archives




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"Scarlet Fever Warning Sign," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #736, (accessed August 24, 2019).